About 55% to 60% of treatment-naïve patients fail to achieve a sustained virologic response after therapy with standard interferon and ribavirin. The use of polyethylene glycol-enhanced interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin for retreatment of this challenging group is currently being evaluated by several investigators. Although no sustained virologic response rates have been reported yet from these trials, reported on-treatment response rates for previous nonresponders range from 25% to 30%, and an early estimate of the sustained virologic response rate is about 11%. Outcomes for treatment of relapsers and interferon monotherapy nonresponders have been significantly better than those for combination nonresponders. On-treatment responses of 40% to 43% in previous combination therapy nonresponders are now being seen with the addition of amantadine (triple therapy), and sustained response rates with this regimen are awaited. Large trials are underway to evaluate the role of maintenance therapy for virologic nonresponders with advanced liver disease.
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